[Opinion] Retinopathy of prematurity and neonatal gut microbiome: An interview with Professor Dimitra Skondra, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Vitreoretinal Surgeon at The University of Chicago (USA)
- Ioannis N. Mammas
- Demetrios A. Spandidos
Affiliations: Institute of Paediatric Virology, Aliveri, 34500 Island of Euboea, Greece
- Published online on: October 30, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.9424
Copyright: © Mammas
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a sight‑threatening disorder of the retina affecting neonates of very low birth weight and gestational age, and is characterized by the development of abnormal blood vessel growth. According to Dr Dimitra Skondra, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Vitreoretinal Surgeon at the University of Chicago School of Medicine in Chicago, USA, the neonatal gut microbiome may be implicated in the neoangiogenesis process in the neonatal retina and this role may be one of the missing links in the pathogenesis of ROP. The human gut microbiome consists of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi, which colonize the sterile fetal intestine, and differ depending on gestational age, mode of delivery, type of neonatal feeding, the usage of antibiotics and the requirement of neonatal intensive care. To date, it has been related to multiple nutritive, metabolic and immunological functions and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several human diseases, such as the inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune and neurogenerative disorders, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and various types of malignant neoplasias. Recent research has proposed that the neonatal gut microbiome profile in high‑risk neonates who develop ROP is significantly enriched with Enterobacteriacaea species several weeks prior to the diagnosis of ROP. Further research using animal models is required to prove the causative or secondary role of the microbiome composition in the development and clinical course of ROP. If this role is proven, the gut microbiome could then be a target of intervention for personalized medicine in the prevention and therapeutic management of ROP in neonates.